Prosecutors and defense attorneys representing the three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in George Floyd’s death filed a joint motion on Friday, asking the court to again delay the start of the state trial for the former officers in March due to the upcoming federal civil rights trial for the former officers set to begin later this month.
“The basis for this request is that the above-named defendants are charged by indictment in federal court with a trial scheduled to begin on January 20, 2022, and it is not known how long that trial will last,” attorneys wrote in the joint motion.
J. Alexander Kueng 27, Thomas Lane 38, and Tou Thao 35, face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter connected to Floyd’s death. They have pleaded not guilty.
Jury selection in the state trial is scheduled to begin on March 7.
Judge Peter Cahill already delayed the start date for the state trial last year so the federal trial on civil rights charges can take place first, as CNN previously reported.
Last month, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, pleaded guilty in federal court to civil rights charges related to the death of George Floyd. He was also convicted last April of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. Thao, Kueng, and Lane pleaded not guilty to the federal civil rights charges in September. Jury selection in their federal case is set to begin on January 20.
Judge Cahill has not responded to the motion for continuance. Attorneys suggested in the motion holding an informal scheduling conference to discuss a new trial date and any necessary litigation deadlines.
During the fatal restraint, Kueng held down Floyd’s torso, Lane held down his legs and Thao restricted bystanders from intervening, videos and testimony from that day show.
All four former officers had initially been set to stand trial on the state charges together. But Cahill ruled in January Chauvin’s trial would be held separately, citing limits on courtroom attendance due to Covid-19 precautions.
A federal grand jury indicted all four former officers in connection with Floyd’s death, alleging they violated his constitutional rights, according to court documents filed in federal court in Minnesota.
The indictment specifically charges Chauvin with depriving Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure, charges Thao and Kueng with failing to intervene, and charges all four with failing to render medical aid.
The officers were fired in the wake of the release of a bystander video, and they were arrested and charged days later.
Thao, Kueng, and Lane appeared in federal court last May and all three were released on $25,000 bond.
Both Kueng and Lane were rookie officers without much experience.
Kueng was hired as a police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department in December 2019. He had joined the department as a cadet in February 2019. He had no prior complaints. When Floyd’s death took place, it was Kueng’s third shift as a police officer, his attorney Thomas Plunkett said last year. Chauvin was Kueng’s training officer, according to Plunkett.
Lane also joined the police department as a cadet in February 2019. He didn’t have a history of complaints. He had been on the police force for four days when Floyd died, his attorney Earl Gray said last year. Lane was “doing everything he thought he was supposed to do as a four-day police officer,” Gray said.
Thao had been a police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department since 2012. He had six complaints filed with internal affairs, one of which was still open, according to a Minneapolis Police Department internal affairs public summary. The other five were closed without discipline.